Archive for February, 2010

Tiger Woods, Talk on Sharing, Lansdowne Revamp

2010/02/20

This is my second installment.  It has been too long since my first.

I will start with something topical, but with a hearth-health angle.  Tiger Woods’ press event sort of messed up things for him, I thought.  He apologized too much, hugged his mother too long (and didn’t mention his long-time mentor, his father Earl), and didn’t sound that sincere.

One thing he did right is, by complaining about media treatment of his family, he showed that he had suffered personally.  The public, at least those watching his news event, felt wronged by his behaviour, and were looking for some punishment.  The antics of some media were, of course, less punishment that he got from his wife, Elin, who was conspicuous by her absense, and is rumoured to be moving ahead on divorcing him. This is a serious threat to the hearth that he built when he left home.

Even with this punishment and the sponsors who have abandoned him, most critics seem to feel that he hasn’t been punished enough yet.  Stay tuned.

While Tiger Woods considers the possibility that he will not be sharing much with his family in the future (except his money), I will be preparing a talk on the topic of sharing, for the Canadian Association of the Club of Rome on March 10th.   My 6.5 years of co-founding and co-managing Ottawa’s car-sharing company, Vrtucar, has produced a great personal interest in sharing as a strategy for reigning in consumption of resources without people have to do without some access the advances in science and technology products introduce into our lives.  My years growing up as the eldest of six siblings on a low/moderate household income is also an insightful experience; their time before marriage working with Chinese people informed their enlightened approach to having lower-than-average income in the post-War period.

I am trying to identify what things can most effectively be shared.  I also want to talk about the social-capital elements that are enhanced by sharing.  Besides car/bike sharing (walking and transit already are ‘sharing-dependent’), I will mention the amazing amount of sharing that occurs in information/culture.  There also are great possibilities of sharing in housing, as evidenced by the co-housing movement and the way ‘common houses’ provide spaces the replace several rooms in houses that are used relatively little, along with the related accessories (tools, beds, shelving, etc.).   Last night, I saw elements of this when attending a Transition Ottawa event at the Terra Firma co-housing project on Drummond Street in Old Ottawa East (where proposed a depot for recycling furniture and appliances that are easily repaired or just need to be displayed to find a new home).

Your thoughts and sources are solicited.

Finally, a couple comments on Lansdowne Park.  This is a multi-acre site along the Rideau Canal, a recently recognize World Heritage Site, that now has a football stadium/hockey arena structure, plus two older exhibition halls that are architectural gems, a few outbuildings that should be demolished, and lots of surface parking. (www.ottawa.ca/landsdownepartnership).

The west side of the site closest to the Bank Street main concourse that forms the centre of the Glebe and Old Ottawa South neighbourhoods has already been committed by Council to a sport consortium to spruce up the stadium/arena and add commercial to the area linking it to the two gems.  That leaves the parking lot and some additional lands along the Queen Elizabeth Drive that follows the Canal and adjacent multi-user pathway.

I favour a pedestrian bridge linking this part of the site to a set of stairs on the opposite side of the Canal that links the Col. By Drive (and another multi-user pathway) and three local streets that meet on the abutment above.  This structure may compete for attention with another one the local councilor, Clive Doucet, is pushing ahead with to the northeast, linking a different neighbourhood (Old Ottawa East) with a part of the site used for more mundane neighbourhood services (day-care centre, fire hall, ball diamonds, and kids park) that is not part of the study area.  I say that both should go ahead, the former as part of the Lansdowne project, and the latter as an inter-neighhood linkage (it is being pushed along with one across the Rideau River (not Canal) to the east linking two different neighbourhoods.  Both are getting Council support, thanks to the beautiful and popular Corktown Bridge finished three years ago closer to downtown.

Also, the site should have a splinter canal pass through the site, with a few arch bridges for effect.  As to the parking spaces, drop them.  The parking for the stadium (a garage closer to Bank Street) will be enough for events occurring on the park section, since events on both will rarely occur simultaneously.  And we have to end over-provision of parking, given the reduced role of the car in the future.

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